About some of our favorite regular suppliers and breeds
Cotswold White and Gold from Fosse Meadows
We tasted a lot of chickens before we opened, and Fosse Meadows were the clear winner. Five years on, we still reckon they're the best birds in the UK (and they often top blind taste tests in national newspapers, so we're not along in thinking this).
These happy birds are slowly reared by Nick and Jacob in Leicestershire, where they're allowed to roam, graze and drink outdoors.
The white ones are Costwold Whites, and the brown are Cotswold Gold - in our shop, you'll notice the difference in the colour of the skin.
If you would like Turkeys, Geese, Cockerels or Guinea Fowl please let us know at least 10days in advance.
We get our ducks from Creedy Carver near Exeter. We think it's a sumptuously tasty free range bird and Creedy Carver work to some of the highest poultry welfare we have found in the UK. The ducks have a paddling pool and dine on a varied diet free of hormones, antibiotics and all GM products.
How do I know I'm buying ethical poultry?
Ask your butcher, that's a good start. Put simply, free-range and organic are usually good indicators to start, although it is worth noting that the main criterium in being organic is that the birds must be fed organic grain – there's not necessarily a welfare or taste difference, just price as organic grain is very expensive. What you're looking to find out is that the birds spend a lot of time outside, pecking and grazing as they like, and have plenty of space when they're indoors. Basically, you want birds that are raised by nice people, who make sure they have good conditions, and don't suffer unduly.
In terms of certification, if you can't get a higher welfare free-range bird, look for ones marked RSPCA Freedom Foods, then High Welfare Indoor Chickens, and then pretty much everything else is a very distant fourth. “Red Tractor”, Farm Assured and other clever marketing words don’t mean a lot in the end to the animals living standards.
“Live fast and die young” does not make a happy or tasty chicken!